A trip to Amsterdam requires adventures in the kitchen upon return.
I was destined to fall in love with the appeltaart.
When I travel I have a tendency to fall for local foods. It may be the most basic of foods in that location, but when you’re an outsider, it’s exotic. And so I identify a local dish that’s easy to find in a variety of places and I order it wherever I go. It could be called a weird travel quirk, but when you find a local food that you love and you stick with it.
And so it was with the appeltaart.
The famed appeltaart at Winkel
On our first afternoon in Amsterdam we were wandering the neighborhood in search of lunch and a double espresso. In the middle of summer, with the sun shining and every cafe known to man having an extensive outdoor seating area, this is not hard to do. So we randomly picked one that had a nice wooden table right next to the entrance and sat down.
Towards the end of our salads, I realized that everyone else was ordering huge pieces of apple pie covered in whipped cream. When every table around you is ordering the same thing, you know that you must do the same.
It wasn’t until later that I realized that we had serendipitously ended up at Winkel, the one cafe that an acquaintance had tipped me off to as having the “best apple pie in Amsterdam.” Some foodie affairs are just meant to happen.
What ensued was a week long obsession with appeltaart, and an even larger obsession with trying to make it myself once I returned home. Fortunately, there’s this thing called the internet. Thanks to Food Nouveau who carefully laid out not only the Winkel appeltaart, but also the one served at ‘t Smalle Cafe (another Amsterdam favorite), I now had a recipe to work with, and maybe I could kick this feeling of being sad about leaving Amsterdam. I even went out and bought a springform pan; sometimes travel also reminds you of what your kitchen is lacking.
As with most recipes, I had to give it my own spin, so this appeltaart is heavy on the cardamom and completely gluten free. It took a bit of experimentation to get it right, my first crust being much too dry. But thanks to some tweaking and incorporation of almond meal (a go to gluten free flour when I am baking) the end result is a tart that’s a little softer than the Amsterdam classic, but still retains the right amount of sweet thanks to the combination of crisp apples and raisins. A traveler’s rendition of a classic dish.
This is not your American Apple Pie, so throw those expectations out the window right now, and keep in mind that it’s best served with fresh whipped cream and a double espresso, of course.
Anna’s Dutch Appeltaart with Cardamom
- 1 1/4 cup sorghum flour
- 1 1/4 cup rice flour
- 2 1/4 cup almond meal
- 2 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 375 grams butter (about 1 1/2 cups, or 3 sticks)
Note: this recipe is meant for a 9-inch springform pan, resulting in a very big appeltart. If you’re using a smaller pan, you may want to cut the recipe in half, or just bake two.
- 8 apples (use a harder/crispier variety)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup raisins
- juice + zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Start by preparing the crust dough. Cream butter and sugar and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together all dry crust ingredients.
Add eggs to the butter and sugar, mixture saving about 1 tablespoon of egg to top the crust with before baking. Add in flour mixture in thirds and mix until dough forms a ball (you can do this by hand or in a food processor). Set aside. Note: if you chill the dough, it will be a little easier to press into the pan.
Peel and quarter all of the apples and cut into small, bite-size pieces. Mix in rest of ingredients until apples are well coated.
Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside about 1/4 of the crust, and place the rest in the bottom of the pan. Push out until the bottom and sides are completely covered. Fill with apple mixture and top with rest of crust dough. Brush with egg and sprinkle with brown sugar (optional).
Bake at 400F for about 45-50 minutes.
Want more food inspiration? Check out the rest of our Sunday Recipe series.